Perching with Betsy!

October 19, 2020

When Betsy isn’t off exploring on green pastures, you can find her perching on just about anything – tree branches, logs, roosts we’ve built specifically for them or….on their favorite human!

For thousands of years, perching has been one of a chicken’s most important survival practices. By nature, chickens have poor eyesight, which is why they perch on high surfaces in the wild, specifically at night, to protect themselves from predators that lurk below. When given the opportunity to perch, 90% of birds will choose to move to higher perching areas once it becomes dark for a secure rest. 

We make sure our ladies are well protected inside our barns at night, with no fear of predators. We also make sure each of our barns is outfitted with plenty of places to perch so they have the freedom and variety to do what they are naturally inclined to do anytime. It makes our hens happier, healthier, and stronger for a good, long life.

Aside from the instinctive nighttime use of these perches — hens also use the perches just to take a break and relax. Betsy knows all the best places to perch around the Blue Sky Family Farm pasture. Here are a few of her favorites below.

Chickens who are raised “Caged” never have the freedom to perch; and when chickens cannot perch they become frustrated and agitated. This annoyance causes them to move around at night, instead of getting a good night’s sleep. Stripping the hens of one of their natural safety behaviors also results in low muscle strength, a lack of motor skills, and thus, the inability to keep balance. 

We make sure perching is introduced to chicks at a young age so they grow to have increased muscle mass and bone strength, as well as higher cognitive development. It’s an essential part of our hens’ growth during their lifetimes with us. We’re always doing whatever we can to make Betsy and the rest of our ladies be the happiest, healthiest, and not to forget, safest, they can be!

Follow along next week with our gal Daisy to learn about another cherished chicken behavior: scratching.